Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and traveling to The Great White North is one of the more memorable experiences you can have. This article tells you what kind of travel insurance and why you need it so you can enjoy your Canadian trip safely and with peace of mind.
If you have been consistently traveling, you know it’s important to have travel insurance, a practical and necessary way to ensure that you are prepared in any case of eventualities. Travel insurance is no longer a luxury.
From flight changes to family surgery, injury, illness or death in the family, travel insurance is mandatory for a majority of working holidays and Canadian border authority may be inclined to check if you have sufficient cover.
You may want to ski or snowboard in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, for instance, which will require you coverage for any possible injuries which may occur while engaged in those activities.
Travel insurance for Canada means a plethora of rates, providers, options, add-ons, and other variables that you should know about to make an informed decision.
Do You Need Travel Insurance When Traveling to Canada from the US or Europe?
Choose a Local Insurer
Take note that insurance is compulsory requirement prior to the issuance of an International Experience Canada (IEC) visa. You will be asked to provide insurance details if you arrive in Canada and should you not be able to comply, you may not be issued the visa.
Insurance coverage must be valid for your stay’s duration, cover not only hospitalization and medical care but repatriation as well. Additionally, each entry into Canada must be covered and its details made available for any port of entry officer for his or her review.
Choosing a local insurer has numerous benefits such as having comprehensive coverage to include routine medical check-up and/or exam and maternity benefits. It is also less difficult when you make claims – and receiving money – with a local insurer.
You DON’T Save Money without Travel Insurance
You don’t need to buy additional coverage for sports and any type of injuries sustained at work.
Getting your local insurer also means you get direct billing and avoid dealing with an overseas insurance company which could be costly in terms of phone bills.
The Canadian Health Care System doesn’t cover holders of IEC visas, that is why travel/medical insurance is recommended for them.
If you think that not getting travel insurance when traveling to Canada will save you money, it won’t.
First, you will be denied entry into the country. Second, without travel insurance, you are vulnerable to all kinds of risks, not the least of which is an emergency of a medical nature.
Medical costs can run up to several thousands in Canada for simple tests or doctor’s visits.
What You Need to Know for Coverage Extensions
Your Port of Entry or POE Letter of Introduction entitles you to obtain your work permit when you arrive in Canada and only then will you know how long you can stay. The length of your stay is dependent on your nationality; it could be a year or two years.
It is essential for you to have coverage for your visa’s full duration because any immigration officer may:
- Ask you to show proof of your insurance cover policy and question you regarding its details.
- Limit the duration of the work permit you were issued to match your policy’s duration if this is validated for a shorter period of time.
Although some insurers will allow a policy extension, there will be some that won’t. In case your chosen insurer allows an extension, however, you still need to exit from Canada on a temporary basis as a requirement for that extension.
Insurance Coverage for Winter Sports
Most of the standard policies exclude coverage of winter sports like snowboarding or skiing but you have the option to add such coverage.
Ensure that you are well informed on the extent of the coverage for the winter sports you engage in while you are in the country since these have a potential for injuries and surgery, especially for beginners.
Your travel insurance policy should have medical coverage as part of it or as an add-on. Be aware of whether or not it covers pre-existing medical conditions and non-emergency conditions.
You also have to know the up font costs of what your insurer will pay and the costs which you have to pay for in order to obtain reimbursement and how long it will take to get reimbursed.
One thing we all have to buy before leaving on our long-term travels is travel insurance – traveling the world without an insurance is really not worth it in case something serious happens.
But the travel insurance industry is like a jungle, it’s really difficult to know which one to choose and what they normally should cover.
When comparing different travel insurance companies you will see that they often look very similar on the outside but actually differ quite a lot when it comes down to the details.
If you’re not sure exactly how long you will be away, make sure that the travel insurance company allows you to update and extend your travel insurance, it’s also a great bonus if they can pay you back the difference in case you go home early.
When comparing travel insurance companies, make sure that they cover:
Lost, Stolen and Damaged Items
Lost passport and travel documents, as well as your belongings like jewelry, clothes and electronics should be covered. However, there are many circumstances when the travel insurance won’t cover you.
To sum it up, they will cover your belongings if it was stolen from you despite being locked up in safety box or concealed storage compartment, or if it’s stolen from you while you’re carrying it.
What it doesn’t cover…
It won’t cover you if you left your baggage unsupervised in public areas, for example not caring for the safety of your belongings.
Overseas Medical/Dental Expenses
If you get ill or injured during your trip that can cause serious harm if it’s not treated, the insurance should provide cover for urgent and necessary medical treatment and emergency dental treatment or hospitalization.
What it doesn’t cover…
I won’t have to say that it won’t cover plastic surgery and similar things, but also know that it doesn’t cover medical check-ups, vaccinations, STD’s, treatment where injury was caused by alcohol and drugs (remember that one!), chronic and reoccurring illness and pre-existing medical conditions that were there before you started traveling.
Compare this carefully between different travel insurances, especially if you have planned to do a bit of adventure sports. Many insurance companies have different types of insurance deals depending on what you need and how you will travel, whether you will be going on a two week ski holiday in Europe or backpack through South America.
Canceled Flights and Accommodation
If your trip is interrupted or if you get ill before your trip and have to cancel flights and pre-booked accommodation due to illness or a close relative’s illness or death, you should be covered.
The insurance should also cover the flight home if there is a case of emergency and you have to interrupt your trip. If your transport has been canceled due to bad weather, illness or failure in service from the transportation provider, your travel insurance should cover the cost.
Good to know…
If your flight is canceled, overbooked or delayed for more than 6 hours many insurance companies will cover reasonable expenses for hotel, meals and local transportation.
Other Things Travel Insurance Should Cover
24 hour emergency phone assistance, Personal liability coverage in the case of damaged 3rd party property or injury and all countries you will be visiting and the entire duration of your trip (including the day you return home).
Now that you have a check-list on what should be included in your travel insurance, compare different companies with each other and see if they all cover the things above and if some even have extra benefits.
What You Need To Know About Travel Insurance
After all the RTW planning you do for what to pack and where to go, there are those extra expenses left that many people forget to include into their travel budget: travel insurance is one of them.
It’s also one of the things that can be either super expensive, or barely noticeable in the overall budget – but don’t let the price completely decide which company you choose – it’s about the coverage you get for your money.
So when looking for travel insurance, also look into the details to find out what they actually cover. If something happens to you while you are traveling around the world, you need to be covered!
Before looking for other companies to provide international travel insurance, check with your home and content insurance to see if they can offer you a cheap deal as an added bonus to your existing home insurance.
Here is a travel checklist for the basic things you should make sure they cover:
- The countries you’re visiting: This is very important. You don’t want to have bought travel insurance for Europe, break a leg in Switzerland and realize that it didn’t cover that country.
- Lost, stolen or damaged items, including electronics: But make sure you save the recepits for them, otherwise you will not get the money back!
- Overseas medical/hospital expenses: Read the fine print here, because it’s often limited and there are many exceptions
- Expenses for transport home in case of personal emergency
- Reimbursements for rebooking cancelled flights and accommodation
- 24-hours emergency phone assistance (you want to be able to contact them at all times)
- Personal liability cover in case of damaged 3rd party property or injury
- The entire duration of your trip
If the insurance company covers all this for a reasonable amount, you should be able to save some money while at the same time stay safe on your journey if something happens. But this isn’t like FDCI.
For the experienced travelers out there: Is travel insurance something you always make sure you get for your travels?
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